The Federal Government has directed telecommunications companies to bar outgoing calls on unlinked mobile lines following the expiration of the extension for the integration of the National Identification Number (NIN) and the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) on March 31,2022.
This was disclosed on Monday in a joint statement by the Director of Public Affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde and the Head of Corporate Communications of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Kayode Olagoke, stressing that the directive takes effect from Monday, April 4, 2022.
According to the statement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, commended Nigerians and Legal Residents for their support during the exercise to link the NIN to SIM.
It added that over 125 million SIMs have so far had their NINs submitted for immediate linkage, verification and authentication. Similarly NIMC has issued over 78 million unique NINs till date.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive for the implementation and commencement of the exercise in December 2020, as part of the administration’s security and social policies.
The deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage has been extended on multiple occasions to allow Nigerians and legal residents to freely comply with the policy. The government also took into consideration the passionate appeals by several bodies – Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), civil societies, professional bodies and a host of others – for the extension of the deadlines in the past.
The statement said, “President Buhari graciously approved the many requests to extend deadlines for the NIN-SIM linkage. At this point however, Government has determined that the NIN-SIM Policy implementation can proceed, as machinery has already been put in place to ensure compliance by citizens and legal residents. The implementation impacts on Government’s strategic planning, particularly in the areas of security and socio-economic projections.
“President Buhari has approved the implementation of the Policy with effect from the 4th of April, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all Telcos to strictly enforce the Policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria. Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage Policy from the 4th of April, 2022 ”
The government advised subscribers of such lines to link their SIMs to their NINs before the Telcos can lift the restriction on their lines.
“Affected individuals are hereby advised to register for their NINs at designated centers and thereafter link the NINs to their SIMs through the channels provided by NIMC and the Telcos, including the NIMC mobile App,” the statement added.
Pantami who lauded President Buhari for his tremendous support also commended the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, the Director-General of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, along with their Management and Staff, as well as other notable bodies whose efforts have seen the monumental success of the exercise.
The Minister also extended his gratitude to the telecommunication operators for their support towards the success recorded.